Was composer Richard Wagner an anti-Semite? Historians and musicologists continue to debate the point, which is difficult to winnow out of the pervasive anti-Semitism of his own historical era. What's indisputable is that Hitler's Nazis co-opted Wagner's works as their own personal soundtrack, a public union that has linked the music with organized hate. English polymath Stephen Fry has a profound love for Wagner's operas, which causes him no small amount of pain and guilt. He is himself Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust. How can he in good conscience listen to Wagner? That question leads Fry on a cross-European journey to explore the roots of Wagner's music and his legacy. Wagner & Me, the resulting documentary of Fry's quest, features visits to Bayreuth, the theater built to Wagner's specifications to best present his compositions, as well as discussions with Jewish musicians and visits to historical sites of Nazi rallies. Wagner & Me screens at 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday (May 12 through 15) at the Moore Auditorium on Webster University's campus (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries) Admission is $5 to $6.
May 12-15, 2013